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Taywood's margins fall below 2 per cent

FINANCE Contracting order book grows but fewer in-house jobs hit pre-tax profits

A DROP in in-house jobs has taken its toll on operating margins at Taylor Woodrow's construction arm.

Taywood's contracting workload advanced £29 million in the first half of this year to £261.9 million but operating margins fell beneath 2 per cent compared to 3.2 per cent this time last year.

A Taywood spokesman said: 'There is less in-house work as Taylor Woodrow Homes is doing fewer inner city high rise schemes, although we continue to do inner city work in some regions, such as London.

'This is just a year-onyear comparison and a more meaningful statistic is to look at the construction order book.'

Taywood increased its contracting order book to £1.1 billion, compared to £777 million this time last year.

The firm also pointed to reaching financial close on a PFI hospital in St Helens and securing preferred bidder status on a Building Schools for the Future project in Sheffield but had nothing else to say on its contracting arm.

The company's focus remains housing but profits from this sector also retreated in the first half of this year, dropping to £189.9 million from £195.4 million a year ago.

Chief executive Iain Napier said: 'A record first half profit from North America contributed 50 per cent of the group's prof it from operations.'

Taywood sold 5,052 homes in the first half of this year with 3,369 of these coming from the UK - up from 3,194 a year ago - but average sales prices slipped £2,000 to £195,000.